City bans New Year’s Eve fireworks

Published on Wed, May 25, 2011 by Tara Nelson

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Blaine residents will have a quieter New Year’s Eve next year after Blaine city council voted 5-2 to ban the use of fireworks on that day.

Blaine police chief Mike Haslip, who introduced the ordinance, said while some individuals enjoy celebrating the holiday with a bang, they are in the minority, and the majority of Blaine residents would rather be sleeping.

“If people were out honking the horn in their cars or beating on pots and pans at midnight, we would not stand for it,” he said. “It’s allowing a minority to enjoy their freedoms when the majority just want to get a good night’s sleep.”

Council member John Liebert agreed: “I have difficulty even staying awake to watch the ball drop in New York City at 9 p.m.”
Council members Charlie Hawkins and Scott Dodd disagreed. Hawkins also made a motion to amend the ordinance to scale back fireworks use during the Fourth of July but continue to allow them on New Year’s Eve.

“My family and also our whole neighborhood enjoys fireworks,” Hawkins said. “It seems really overregulated.”

Hawkins’ amendment was voted down 5-2, with he and Dodd in favor.

Haslip said the measure would help reduce police staffing costs as the likelihood of firework-related injuries requires more officers on staff being paid overtime plus holiday pay.

The ordinance also reduces the window of time residents are permitted to use personal fireworks to between July 1 and 4, as opposed to between June 28 and July 6 as previously allowed. It also increases the distance users must allow between themselves and gas stations to 300 feet and limits the number of fireworks stands from one per 1,000 to one per 2,000 people.